Look who's calling...

With a bit of lateral thinking, you can use Facility to solve many of your administrative problems.

This particular example combines the Facility events module with a customised attendance grid to give key information to staff responsible for managing student attendance.

Addressing the problem

OFSTED had highlighted an issue with persistent absence and the school was keen to act. Resources were spent recruiting an extra member of staff to the administrative team, and a number of staff had an additional attendance focus added to their existing roles.

This meant that as well as the Attendance Officer, an Educational Social Worker, Home-School Liaison Officers, Learning Mentors, Heads of Year and Form Tutors might all contact parents about a student's absence. An effective method of communication was essential in order to avoid the usual pitfall of having too many people doing the same thing - either parents would be phoned several times about the same absence, or wouldn't be phoned at all because everyone at school thought somebody else was going to do it.

The solution

Form tutors were already useing ePortal for morning and afternoon registration, and adminstrative staff were used to using the Roll Call window in Facility to get their attendance information. This meant that a CMIS-based solution would be ideal. The solution had three elements that fitted together to ensure everyone was kept in the loop and had the key information at their fingertips:
  • A new 'Attendance Phone Call' Event within the Facility Events module so that members of staff could log on the student's record whenever they contacted a parent
  • A customised Roll Call attendance grid so that the date of the last phone call home was displayed next to each student's name (with the name highlighted if the student had already had a phone call today) 
  • Some 'virtual teaching groups' to represent the caseloads of the Educational Social Worker, Home-School Liaison Officers and Learning Mentors, enabling them to quickly filter to the students they needed to focus on.

In practice, this meant that staff were able to open the Roll Call window, see just the students they were interested in and imediately identify whether a phone call needed to be made. If a parent did need to be contacted, double-clicking on the student's name and switching to the events tab on the student record would display the details of all earlier phone calls. At the end of the conversation, a new event was added with the details of that phone call. Other members of the attendance team would therefore see that the student's parents had already been contacted that day, and could view the details if necessary.

The result was that the attendance team could operate much more efficiently and without duplicating workload. Just as importantly, parents got the impression that the school took attendance seriously - they would be contacted swiftly about all unexplained absences, but would not have to give the same explanation to several different people.

And using Facility to solve the problem meant that staff didn't have to learn a different system, and all the data collected was centralised and could easily be used for analysis at a later date.